30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2010
I'm not a professional photographer but I use a digital camera for work. There are very sophisticated reviews of this camera on professional camera review websites, but here is a review from a basic user.
Ricoh cameras are hard to find, as most retailers offer Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc. I became a Ricoh fan in the late 1980s, using a very inexpensive point/shoot camera. The picture quality was great, and I used that camera for years. When digital photography became more mainstream, I bought a Ricoh RDC-5000. It was $1000 at the time, that was 1999. Believe it or not, I have used that Ricoh RDC-5000 for 11 years, until now (2010). About two years ago I bought a Nikon Sd7 to replace the old Ricoh, but the pictures were not as good, and perhaps out of habit I just kept using the Ricoh for my work (indoor) photos.
I finally decided I had to upgrade to a new digital camera. I decided to try Canon, Nikon and Ricoh. Most of my photos are taken indoors, although recently I use my camera for natural city scenes. I don't want to use a huge camera because it can take something away from the mood of the shot if I appear too "professional".
I went to an excellent camera store in Portland OR, where they cater to every camera equipment need. They stock Ricoh and all other brands. They allowed me to take photos using the Ricoh GXR, Canon G11, and Nikon (don't recall the model). I downloaded the photos onto their computer and examined, took more photos, examined more, it was a 2 hour process. I decided to buy the Ricoh GXR even though it was a fair bit more expensive than the alternatives. The photos seemed to have a slight "edge" in quality, and I am already a Ricoh fan, and I kind of like the fact that nobody else has the same camera as I do.
I've used this for about a month now. The camera exceeds my expectations in every respect. I could go on and explain every little thing I like about it, but I'd rather just say "I love it". And I think you will too. I got the smaller lens package, and am considering to add the larger one later. It really is a great camera.
I did have a small bit of frustration, and that was the camera store sent me home with the camera and lens unit but I did not get the accessory lens cap that they had on their display model. This lens cap, about $20, is VERY important. The stock lens cap must be removed each time you take a photo, and it's a real hassle. The accessory lens cap, called the "LC-2" is a self-retaining cap that opens and closes cleverly each time you turn on/off the camera. I had to order that and got it in the mail a week later.
So--buy this camera especially if you like Ricoh. It's going to make you very happy. And make sure you also get the accessory lens cap.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2011
I love this camera. I've used many systems trying to find the perfect street photographer / versatile carry around camera, and this is it. As background, I've used:
1) Nikon - Film system including FA, FM2, FM3a, F3, F100, and Digital, including D90, D5000, D7000. All Nikon gear now sold, except the FM3a for collectors value.
2) Canon - Film system including EOS 3, EOS Elan II, and Digital - 5D (borrowed from friend). All canon gear sold.
3) Sony - A850 - love this camera.
4) Olympus E-420 and E-520 - both sold.
5) Micro 43 - Panasonic GF-1, now sold.
6) Samsung NX100 - another great camera.
I am an advanced amateur photographer who has exhibited at local galleries.
Why you should buy the the GXR -
- 100% customizable interface. there is absolutely no need to dive into the menus.
- everything is at the "top level" meaning there is instant control - just spin the knob or push the button. There's no "hold this button down then turn this" For example: I shoot in aperture priority. here are the commands that are directly accessible without any need to hold down any button or dive into menus:
3) exposure compensation
4) switch to Manual focus
5) enlarge image (focusing aid)
6) focus assist (peaking)
There are 5 additional, easily accessible and completely customizable functions that are just 1 button press away.
- snap focus mode with depth of field gauge. This is amazing, highly useful for street photography, and taking photos of fast-moving kids. there are 2 ways to do this:
1) when the camera is in AF mode, you can make it so that if the shutter button is fully pressed in 1 motion, the camera will focus at a pre-determined and user-adjustable distance (i.e. 2-meters). You can change this distance with 1 button press. if you use 1/2 press shutter, it is AF as usual.
2) when you are in snap focus or manual focus mode, there is a depth of field gauge that tells you the focus point and the DOF around that focus point.
- great LCD screen at 920k dots
- magnesium alloy build. the build quality is superb.
- you can hold the camera in 1 hand and operate almost all the controls. Also, the back of the camera has a large area where the thumb can rest and not accidentally touch any other button.
- the mode dial locks. This prevents accidentally changing the shooting mode.
Now, here's a thought. I never understood why people bought the GXR until now:
1) the GXR balances sensor size to deliver a great shooting experience in a small form factor. want a large zoom? ok, get the 28-300 module. It's got a small sensor to keep the overall size small. If you want a 28-300 lens on full frame, buy the Canon 5D2 and 28-300 L for about $6000. You want uncompromising image quality? ok, get the 50mm or 28mm module w/ APSC module. The A12 APSC sensor is superb. clean to ISO 800. 1600 needs just a touch of NR in Lightroom.
2) why would the majority of people really need more than ISO 1600 and 12MP? this sensor and lens setup on the A12 modules is so good, I don't think anyone would need to update. i'll take the superior user interface any day.
Who should NOT get the GXR?
1) Sports photographers who need long, fast zoom lenses to shoot from the sidelines
2) night wedding photographers needing ISO 3200 and a 70-200 2.8 zoom
3) gear heads wanting to buy 12 lenses at 1,000 each, then wind up using just 2 of those.
4) people who need long tele lenses (i.e. bird photographers or animal photographers) or ultrawide lenses.
if you are in one of these groups, the GXR would not be a good 1 system camera, but would be a great 2nd system camera.
Now that the M mount is coming out, it's just getting better.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2012
My background: I own 2 GXR camera units, the 28, 50, and M-Mount A12 lensors, as well as the P10 small lensor and the EVF. I also own the Canon 5DII and assorted L lenses for occasions where the big guns need to come out.
I was one of the first to jump onto the mirrorless bandwagon, and got a M43 Panasonic G1, and later the GH2. I've shot 20K frames on M43 cameras, and at one time owned most of the glass that are worth owning in that system, such as the 25 1.4, and the 45 1.8.
I sold it all after I got my first GXR system with 50mm F2.5 Macro lensor.
I am writing this review for users who may be considering entering mirrorless systems and are considering side-by-side comparisons with M43, Sony NEX, and possibly the Fuji systems.
If you are a photographer pixel-peeping your files on the large screen, you need to know now that at some stage, you will develop remorse over the M43 system. Their files, no matter how advanced the sensor is, are just not as robust as APS-C sensors. I stand by this after having shot 20K frames on various M43 cameras.
You can try long-exposure for 30S at the dead of the night on the GH2 sensor and the result would not be usable. Too much noise. Try the same on the GXR M-Mount A-12, and it results in beautifully rendered files. I was told that the sensor on the GXR M-Mount is the same as the Nikon D300, but don't quote me on that as I couldn't find proof.
The colors on the GXR system are brighter and more vivid, and if you don't like it, you can customize it until you get exactly what you want. On the net, some folks have tutorial writeups on how exactly to tune the colors, so you get a 'Leica' palette. I've tried it, like it, and save it as a preset on MY1 on the dial. GXR allows you to save up to 3 presets for different shooting situations. A most useful features absent in a lot of mirrorless cameras.
If you have a bunch of M Lenses, you can just take a small risk and pick up one with the M-Mount module just to see how it renders. I was told that the experience is very different from shooting Leica M cameras, so folks used to rangefinder shooting may not like it. In fact, I bought my GXR M Mount from exactly one such gentlemen, who had a Leica M9 and decided to stick with it. He kept the GXR body and 28 MM module though, so that tells u something.
AF-Speed: Slow. If you shoot in street situations, you'll need to do zone focussing (SNAP on the menu). If takes 1.5s to focus sometimes, and this is adequate light.
Noise Reduction: At ISO3200 (the GXR's max), aggressive NR results in some shots smeared in details. At ISO800 and below, this is nothing to worry about.
System Longevity: There's no way to get round this, but with Ricoh acquiring Pentax, the GXR system may no longer be a priority. Systems have died from neglect before, and right now the Olympus 4/3s system is exactly in such a death spiral.
Why Did I Invest In Such a Niche, Closed System?
1. The colors: Need to be seen to be believed. Usable Out of Camera, save me lots of processing time.
2. The size: Essentially a compact camera dimension with an APS-C sensor. Sensor size determines image quality, and that is just my experience.
3. My shooting style: This is a travel, documentation, and party camera. The 28MM and 50MM modules are more than enough. With the M-Mount, and with some voigtlander lenses, the image quality may rival real DSLRs in good light.
4. Even if Ricoh doesn't come up with anything else, I have all I need.
5. But Ricoh, to their credit, keeps updating the firmware and keeps coming up with stuff on a regular basis.
I may add additional cameras as I am a photo nut, but the Ricoh GXR system will stay with me for a long long time. I've shot more than 10K frames from the 2 camera bodies that I have. Very happy.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2011
This is my first ever review of a product, from any website.
I absolutely love this camera. I spent quite a bit of time researching. Top reasons I purchased (pros):
1) Liked the idea of the modular sensor/lens.
2) Upcoming module that would handle a Leica M lens.
3) All reviews pointed at extra solid construction - I have to agree - its a rock. (but not too heavy)
4) I have bigger hands, and it fits perfectly.
5) Purchased with the 28mm A12 - which is a very exciting lens and sensor in my opinion.
1) Tones are dynamic on the A12, but the "Standard" setting isn't saturated enough. Easy fix - just change to "Vivid" to capture if this is your preference.
2) I hope this system will continue to be supported. I think with the Leica module, it should gain quite a bit of popularity in the mirrorless segment, but this is a risk...
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2010
This is a hidden gem for photographers, this system may be pricey for the lenses with larger sensors, but you can literally store this camera in any bag. It's the most portable SLR system out there, and well built. I recommend to any serious photographer that they get this system. This company takes it users seriously and releases updates for the software as fast as possible.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2013
I have been a long time fan of the Ricoh GXR system. The modular system keeps dust off the sensor and it is compact and light. Image quality is superb when used with the 'A12' modules. As the system is discontinued, with no information whether there will be any replacement, and if so whether the new model will be backwards compatible, I purchased a second body as spare for that 'just in case' scenario. They are going for a song now!
on July 2, 2014
Works fine as back up.
on June 4, 2014
In new condition and worked perfectly. These are really great cameras and interesting given the interchangeable lens feature. I already had a lens.
5 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2010
TRY THIS CAMERA AND FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE WITH LIGHT WEIGHT AND QUALITY OF PHOTOGRAPH. LITTLE BIT PRICY BUT IT IS REALLY GOOD ONE.